I was honored to represent Multnomah University at the OneAccord Forum in Ridgrest, North Carolina. The forum was hosted by the Accord Network, whose mission is “convening the body of Christ to serve the global poor with excellence.” The network is comprised of more than 100 Christian nonprofit organizations providing relief and development in some of the most difficult regions in the world.
Accord encapsulates many of the values that are central in our Global Development and Justice program at Multnomah: unity in the body of Christ, compassion for the poor, seeking to develop best practices and to serve others with excellence, and living out our faith convictions with integrity.
Workshops took place to share about best practices in the field. It was encouraging to hear of the advocacy that is taking place to build awareness of humanitarian concerns around the world, and to protect religious freedom.
The theme of strengthening one another in collaboration was foundational. We were reminded that the greatest needs for relief and development are in contexts of instability and violence. Rather than competing for resources, we must realize that the needs are too great to try to address alone — and that our testimony is established in our unity.
President and CEO of Hope International Peter Greer spoke on “Rooting for Rivals” and challenged us to change our focus from asking, “How are you different from other organizations?” to asking, “How are you working together?” He reminded us that we are called to celebrate what others are doing, and to keep our first loyalty to the kingdom of God.
This focus seems to be a prophetic call in this current atmosphere of division, competition and mistrust in our country. May we, as the body of Christ, model unity in diversity, and focus together on reflecting God’s heart of compassion to a world longing for hope.
This post was written by Dr. Karen Fancher, professor of global studies | global development and justice studies at Multnomah University. She also serves as the president of Nehemiah’s Hope, a nonprofit organization providing training on community-based strategies to support those impacted by the trauma of war. Learn more about MU’s undergraduate global studies program here, and learn more about our MA in Global Development and Justice program here.